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Parents who sued SAU 79 accept $55k in settlement

Union Leader Correspondent

August 16. 2017 9:14PM

LACONIA — The parents who sued the Gilmanton School District, claiming their teenage son suffered a severe leg injury because a jagged metal post wasn’t removed or covered, have accepted $55,000 to settle the suit, according to court records.

During a track practice at the Gilmanton School, the son of John and Karen Gilson stumbled and fell into a grassy island area in the parking lot at 1386 Route 140 in March 2016.

During the fall, the lower part of his left leg struck a broken-off sign post, hidden in the grass. He was 14 at the time.

According to the suit filed in Belknap County Superior Court, the boy suffered a softball-sized U-shaped laceration extending from his shin to his calf, requiring multiple sutures to repair. The plaintiff’s attorney, Michael Noonan of Shaheen & Gordon, characterized the injury as “serious and permanent.”

John and Karen Gilson claimed on behalf of their son that the school and SAU 79 had a duty to maintain the safety of the grounds and that they had violated that duty by not burying or otherwise covering the broken post.

Under the terms of the settlement that was approved by a judge on Wednesday, the injured teen will receive $40,358.01 once he turns 18.

The law firm that negotiated the settlement will receive $13,750 plus legal costs of $891.99. The defendants’ insurer, the New Hampshire Public Risk Management Exchange (Primex3) will pay the settlement.

The suit had charged that the defendants had breached their duty of care by not warning of the danger, and by failing to protect the boy against the foreseeable risk of injury by allowing students to use the property near the broken post.

Medical bills of $8,218.08 have already been paid, and no subrogation claim was asserted against the settlement, according to court records.

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